Good morning and welcome to
another episode of… …Five Games Five Minutes,
from NIGHTMARE MAZE was originally released
by MRM, who promptly shut up shop. It re-emerged on Blue Ribbon’s
budget range a little later. In it, you play Sleepy Joe, who is
trapped in an oblique-projection style maze. To escape, he needs to collect an
ever-increasing number of keys. Randomly milling around the
maze are four monsters, … …which have to be
completely avoided. Whilst avoiding them is
not too difficult in itself, … …they do have a nasty
habit of getting in Joe’s way. The problem is that
time is in short supply. So you end up
having to take risks… …to get all of
the keys you need. When you’ve
got ten of them, … …you also need to find
your way back to the door. Now and then a cup of black
coffee appears and, if it does, … …you should make a beeline for it. Once drank, it removes all
monsters for about fifteen seconds. Usually enough time to run
around and collect four keys… …that might otherwise take
you much, much longer. This game is an original idea… …and it’s also not very demanding. Although being picked off just
a few steps from the final doorway… …may lead to
anguished screaming. Oooh, PERCY PENGUIN next, eh? There won’t be many Acorn
Electron users who didn’t… …come across this one! Superior just kept on releasing,
licensing, and re-releasing it. How to play is simple. You run around an overhead maze… …trying to position yourself next
to one of the large ice cubes… …that make up its walls. Also in the maze are
a number of snow-bees… …which will come steaming towards
you, destroying any cubes in their way. As soon as you see
an opening, leap upon it… …and hurl a cube
in their direction. That’s essentially
the whole game, … …which is quite shoddily put
together for a Superior release. Staying positive, it’s
done in hi-res Mode… …which means that you get
a much larger playing area… …than the other
games of this genre. Plus, it’s fairly playable, even
if you need the reactions… …of a superhero to get very far. What can’t be excused though,
is the lack of a high score table, … …lack of joystick option… …and the dull monochrome page
of instructions that start the game. Probably just a little bit
better than average overall. PIPE LOONACY was originally
published in The Micro User magazine. But, as it’s written by the
irrepressible Mike Williams, … …I’m sure it was originally destined
by Blue Ribbon’s budget range. It’s certainly a
superior type-in game. A blatant rip-off of PIPEMANIA,
you must lay pieces of pipe… …in an arrangement, so that
liquid runs from the start… …through a minimum
number of sections. A timer counts down to give you
some time to engage your brain… …before the heat is on. On later levels, one-way sections and
slow pipe sections are also introduced. It’s all very colourful and addictive. However, when compared
with the original, … …there’s something amiss about
the pipe pieces on offer here. You can get stuck
needing a pipe section… …which just absolutely
refuses to appear! Here, looking for one piece… …I lay over twenty separate
pieces – and still don’t find it! For this reason, and the lack of
passwords, a two-player option… …or bonus sections, it compares
badly with the original. ALPHATRON is a peculiar
game, in which you must… …stop a never-ending supply of missiles
from striking a nuclear power plant. You control a spaceship,
with a limited supply of fuel. You must wait for
a missile to appear, … …blast off, thrust after it, catch up
with it and then shoot it out of the sky. There are four screens dividing your
start position from the nuclear plant… …and you can tell where you are, and
where the current missile is, … …by glancing at the small radar in the
bottom left-hand corner of the screen. Catching up with the
missile is usually possible. But, as you will start to fall out of
the sky if you release the thrust key, … …shooting it is more tricky. You also need to be
wary of your remaining fuel… …because you can only recharge
your spaceship on the very first screen. The landing pad also requires pixel-
perfect accuracy as you touch down upon it. To be sure, ALPHATRON is
a bit of a different idea. But a few missiles shot down,
and you’ll quickly gather… …that there’s nothing
much to see here. Despite almost palpable disapproval
from the Acorn gaming press by this point, … …Alternative Software wasn’t ready
to spare us from the TRIPLE DECKER series. In number 9, we get BREAK FREE,
gets the buzzer… [Buzzer noise] …for perhaps being the
worst bat and ball game ever. Your ball, which should of
course ricochet off tiles, does not. It sort of – sometimes – bounces
around obliterating them, … …and sometimes simply
falls out of the air. And what is THIS for
nonsense collision detection. For an Early 1990s commercial release,
MISSILE JAMMER is also laughable. Move left and right and, ahem,
‘jam’ the missiles if you can. You won’t be able to for long,
though, because the game… … chucks impossible-to-
catch missiles at you! Almost as soon as
it starts in fact! CODE BREAKER
rounds this off with… …the opportunity to guess
a combination of colours. Words fail me, man. Subtitles by
Subtitle Workshop


  1. @UKRetroGames I just randomly choose them from the web site. The ones that are more 'photogenic' tend to jump out at me whereas text adventures seem less attractive because you really need to make the narrative entertaining to compensate for somewhat boring screens full of text.

  2. missile jammer????? early 90's???? just fucking wow!!!!!!! i had a megadrive by then!for sheer comparability(think thats a word)this is challenging for the worst game ever title!!!! *would rather toss a coin*

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